Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




A transitional object, as defined by object-relation theorists is the first treasured possession of the infant (teddy bear, blanket, etc.) usually first appearing in the second half of the first year, and terminating between the ages of four and six. Object relations theory and subsequent empirical investigations have demonstrated that, for almost all three year old children, the relationship with the transitional object: is spontaneously desired during periods of isolation and mild stress, is characterized by attachment to a specific object, and is affectively intense. The present study used these three characteristics of the three year old child's mode of object relating, to test the validity of hypnotic age regression; this problem was approached by assessing the adequacy of a conceptualization of hypnotic age regression based solely on motivated response to demand characteristics. Using a real-simulating design, it was hypothesized that high susceptible, hypnotised subjects, when regressed to age three and presented with stress situations, should produce spontaneous, specific, and affectively intense relationships with a transitional object. It was further hypothesized that low susceptible, simulating controls, when presented with an otherwise identical experimental treatment, would be less able to approximate these three age appropriate responses. Results indicated that on all three variables, spontaneity, specificity and intensity, hypnotised subjects behaved in a significantly more age appropriate manner than the Simula tin;.', controls. These results suggest the inadequacy of a taskmotivation conceptualization of hypnosis, and further, suggest, but do not establish, the existence of a trance component in hypnosis.